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Laparoscopic anti-reflux (GERD) surgery

LAPAROSCOPIC ANTI-REFLUX (GERD) SURGERY

Definition: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also termed “heartburn” is often used to describe a variety of digestive problems. GERD is a result of stomach acids refluxing or “backing up” from the stomach into the esophagus. Often described as a sour, burning sensation in the chest or upper abdomen, the feeling may radiate throughout the chest and into the throat and neck. Although most patients find relief with medication, those who fail medical management may benefit from surgical repair.

Reason for procedure:

  • Despite the discomfort associated with GERD, long term exposure to acid may cause chronic inflammation in your esophagus which can lead to complications, including:
    • Narrowing of the esophagus (esophageal stricture).
    • An open sore in the esophagus (esophageal ulcer).
    • Precancerous changes to the esophagus (Barrett’s esophagus).

Symptoms:

  • A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), sometimes spreading to the throat, along with a sour taste in your mouth
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry cough
  • Hoarseness or sore throat
  • Regurgitation of food or sour liquid (acid reflux)
  • Sensation of a lump in the throat
  • Chronic post nasal drip

Treatment options

  • Nonsurgical option: Most patients who suffer from GERD can find relief through medication. Those who continue to suffer from acid reflux despite medication may benefit from surgery.
  • Surgical option: Laparoscopic fundoplication or the conventional open fundoplication are options. At AMISurgery, we now offer INCISIONLESS (no incisions) reflux surgery for qualified patients.

Risks associated with surgery

  • Infection of the skin
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Postoperative ileus (the intestines slow down/stop working for several days)
  • Improved but not completely resolved reflux
  • Injury to stomach or esophagus
  • Injury to lung

(This is only a partial list of potential complications)

Pre-operative preparation

  • Esophogram: Assess the function of the esophagus and identifies structural abnormalities and associated problems.
  • Upper endoscopy: Identifies damaged caused by reflux (e.g. Esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus, malignancy).
  • Esophageal manometry: Assesses the function of the esophagus and how it propels food into the stomach
  • Laboratory data

Average hospital stay:

  • Varies amongst patients, but the average patient stays hospitalized for about 1-3 days on a modified diet.

Type of anesthesia required:

  • Laparoscopic surgery requires general anesthesia which blocks pain and keeps you asleep throughout the entire surgery.

Recovery period

Once you have undergone laparoscopic surgery, your recovery period is usually shortened when compared to conventional open surgery. Most patients can usually go home and resume most of their daily activities within a few days after the procedure. You will be given pain medication along with a laxative to prevent constipation. Your activity may be limited to light lifting (no more than 20 lb) for one month.